May 30, 2012

You got a little girl?

Peep Nas' new video for his single Daughters.  It's good to see Nas back doing more conscious tracks, and I'm sure that all of you Dad's with teenage daughters will certainly see Nas' perspective on this one. 

May 25, 2012

What is Rap SM?

If you liked my recent Pharcyde post then you might also like this live concert from Oakland's Souls of Mischief
The gig was filmed at an event in Helsinki, Finland called Rap SM.  I don't know anything about this event, but it's billed as a 'Freestyle Battle' [if any of our Finnish readers want to expand on this, please feel free to update us in the comments section].  Having looked at the Rap SM website, it seems like an event for Finnish emcees to battle each other, and each year they get a major US underground artist to perform at the event.  The last two years have seen Elzhi and Wildchild perform, but in 2009 it was the turn of the Hieroglyphic affiliates.

All to often, the footage of your favourite rapper in concert turns out to be a grainy, muffled, dimly lit and filmed from the back of the stage on a mobile phone type of affair, which is more than a little disappointing (whoever thought we wanted to see the back of an artist?).  And I'm not talking about the crap you find on YouTube filmed by paying fans, this stuff is frequently padding out full price retail DVD's!
So footage like we have here, with clear audio and visuals (where you can actually distinguish the faces of each emcee) feels like a real treat, especially when it's for a group that these days receives a minimal amount of exposure.  Read more after the jump...

May 18, 2012

A Kiss Goodbye

With the recent closure of New York’s 98.7 Kiss FM it seems like a good point in time to reminisce about it’s heyday, and there’s probably no better way to do it than to listen to one of the stations legendary DJ’s/pioneers, Koooooool DJ Red Alert.

This recording is labelled as being from 1988, but any knowledgeable listener will know that this can’t be right. Red Alert plays tracks like: De La Soul’s Plug Tunin, several BDP tracks from the By All Means Necessary LP, Biz Markie’s Vapours etc, all of which were released in the fall of 1990. Therefore I’d say this is most likely a show from late 1990.

As you would expect from Red Alert in this era, he plays a good selection of east coast rap including JVC Force, Jungle Brothers, Chill Rob G, BDP, EPMD, Doug E. Fresh, P.E, B.D.K and more.  He's also joined by DJ Sammy B from the Jungle Brothers who shares the mixing boards.

One of the great things about this rip is that it’s of exceptional quality as there’s no hiss like many cassette rips have. It runs for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, so you get two sides of what a standard TDK D90 cassette would’ve recorded (old school heads know what I mean)!  It's also a great reminder of the era when you could happily listen to the radio for several hours without wishing there was a fast forward button to skip the numerous adverts, the bullshit rap or the DJ's verbal drivel.  This is just back to back quality hip hop.

All that’s left to say is - R.I.P. 98.7 Kiss FM.

Mike Check.

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May 9, 2012

Show and A got the Flava!

Bronx heavyweights Showbiz & A.G. return with a new release and are back on top of their game. You may remember that back in November I spoke about their highly anticipated new LP Mugshot Music and shared some of the leaked tracks. Well the LP is still in production and scheduled for a late summer release, so to keep fans happy and to fill the interim gap they have released a free taster album called Pre Loaded.

Unlike most pre releases, this is a full length, top quality album. It’s not a mixtape, there are no DJ’s hollering all over the tunes, and its 15 tracks long. Okay, I acknowledge that most of the tracks are only 2-3 minutes long, but I’d rather it be that way than having some well known DJ shamelessly doing self promotion with an annoying voiceover.

And if you’re a die hard Show & A.G. fan that really can’t miss anything they release…. well, you can purchase a deluxe version from iTunes or Amazon. So what do you get for your extra bucks ($8.99)?  Just three more short tracks!
I’m not sure on the marketing strategy here; surely a free EP would have given listeners a greater incentive to part with their hard earned dough for the full length album. But I’ve only been buying records for 30 years, so what would I know!

Anyway, go and check out the latest offering from one of hip hop’s greatest duos, I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.

Free download:

Mike Check.

May 6, 2012

Where have you been?

Regular followers are probably thinking that I forgot to compile my usual monthly round up of interesting discoveries that I've found on my many journey's through the information super highway.  Well the truth is, that recently I've just not found very much that has been worth sharing with you. 

With so many blogs and websites taking time out to regroup after the megaupload situation, new and interesting content has been temporarily scarce.  The good news is, that things seem to be picking up a little, and this month there are some real gems for you.  Let's hope this trend continues, but in the mean time here's my blogwatch for April:

It’s not too often that I find myself being both excited and nostalgic - at the same time - about new music. But this week’s new release of O.C. and Apollo Brown’s new LP Trophies has done just that. I started hearing the hype about it a month or two back, and the early tracks they leaked to promote it had my ears open, but I still had my reservations as to whether this could really live up to all the hype.

Well I’m pleased to say that it’s better than I expected. Apollo Brown has successfully crafted 16 tracks that perfectly compliment O.C.’s style and flow. Many of the tracks sound like they could be unused beats from the vaults of early 90’s producers like Pete Rock, DJ Premier or Buckwild etc

O.C. is back at his best, allowing his cadence to effortlessly intertwine with Apollo’s beats. The end result is a stellar album from start to finish. And if you don’t believe me, you can check out the whole album here (which contains a couple of free download tracks). If you like it, please support the artist and head over to their bandcamp page and buy a copy (it's only $9.99). It’s also been pressed on wax for all those vinyl heads out there.

Check the album after the jump, along with the trailer for Ice-T's new documentary, a critical review of Rza's Bobby Digital and a Tupac resurection!!!